* Euro STOXX 50 falls 0.2 pct, FTSEurofirst 300 ends flat
* Ericsson shares rise but Volvo falls
* Investor focus shifting to earnings, U.S. rate outlook
* Both Euro STOXX and FTSEurofirst up nearly 20 pct in 2015
By Lionel Laurent
LONDON, July 17 (Reuters) - European stocks slipped back from six-week highs on Friday, with a recent Greece-driven relief rally showing signs of fading, while a drop in the shares of truck maker Volvo also weighed on equities.
The earnings season is just getting under way in Europe. Friday’s results brought forecast-beating numbers from mobile network supplier Ericsson, appliance maker Electrolux and fragrance firm Givaudan. Givaudan rose around 4 percent, while Ericsson advanced 3.4 percent.
However, Volvo dropped 6.3 percent after the company warned it expected little growth in North America in coming years.
The EuroSTOXX 50 index fell 0.2 percent, giving up some of its gains from the previous session that were fuelled by fresh expectations for a Greek debt deal and more European Central Bank help for Greek banks.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index closed flat, remaining near six-week highs.
“The earnings announcements are mixed and there is a little bit of an anticlimax after the Greece headlines. A lot of people did not expect the worst to happen and so money had already poured in,” said Markus Huber, trader at brokerage Peregrine & Black.
The ECB’s measures have enabled European stock markets to hold their ground in spite of persistent worries about Greece.
Europe and North America were the only regions with net inflows over the past week, with equity inflows into Europe rising to $4.1 billion, according to Jefferies.
While the profit-enhancing falls in the euro and oil prices seen earlier this year are expected to have worked less of their magic on company earnings in the second quarter than in the first, European firms are still seen reporting an estimated 5 percent increase in second-quarter profits.
“Unless the ECB firewall breaks and contagion spreads violently across the euro zone, there is upside to European equities over the next 12 months even with our Grexit base case,” Citi strategists wrote in a note.
The FTSEurofirst and Euro STOXX 50 indexes both remain up by nearly 20 percent in 2015.
Europe bourses in 2015: link.reuters.com/pap87v
Asset performance in 2015: link.reuters.com/gap87v
Today’s European research round-up (Additional reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Andrew Heavens)